Self-Awareness Level 2, Lesson 2: Are You Emotionally Aware?
Editor’s note: the following is the second lesson in Younus AlGohar’s course on Self-Awareness, Level 2: Emotional Intelligence. For better background information, read Self-Awareness, Level 1, in the Messiah Herald.
Read Self-Awareness, Level 2, Lesson 1 here.
Spirituality is fundamentally the original knowledge of human beings; their existence, their functions and their beings. Senses, which are numbered as five in total, are related to the five souls in the human breast. It makes it really easy to understand that due to the fact that these five souls are enclosed in our bosoms, we have emotions and other senses. Animals do not have these senses.
The most common functions of the souls which are open to all souls, like emotions and empathy; sometimes, human beings who do not get to enlighten their souls have problems [with these functions]. They lose some of the senses because the souls are badly damaged or diseased with some evil ailments. Some people stop having empathy and sympathy for others; they stop feeling the pain of others. We know them as self-centred people.
What exactly happens when somebody has all the feelings of his or her pain but does not feel the pain of others? This is due to the fact that the souls responsible for upholding the sensory system of five senses are diseased and are now malfunctioning.
You must have seen people who may be easily regarded as stone-hearted or hard-hearted. You must have seen such people in your vicinity – at work, school and religious places. Something goes severely wrong when the souls inside the human chest go wrong. Malfunctioning of these souls result in having no empathy; people suffering from malfunctioning souls do not sympathise with anyone. They become egocentric, stone-hearted and blind to any compassion. These things can only be understood with the help of spirituality because they are to do with spirituality.
It is not the body which has the outburst of emotions. Emotions are a very spiritual, abstract thing. You don’t see them, but you can feel them.
We live in a very strange world; when somebody has emotions, we say, ‘This person is too emotional.’ Intelligence is part of emotional intelligence. If you don’t have emotions, you are an animal. Animals don’t have emotion because they don’t have the five souls in the breast. If you are a human being and still you don’t have emotions, it means your souls are severely diseased.
Most of the time, many people who are not spiritual are only concerned about their own emotions. They don’t care about others’ emotions. Whether it is their friends, spouse, father, brother or sister, they are not bothered.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. The mismanagement of emotions is extremely dangerous.
For example, if you spill a glass of water by mistake, you would forgive yourself without hesitation. You will not even say, ‘I’m sorry, please forgive me.’ I don’t have to say it. However, if somebody else does it, you would say, ‘Oh my god, look at them!’ Things will go out of proportion. This is because, emotionally, you are not intelligent. You have problems with identifying the emotions and managing them. When you were able to remain quiet when you spilt water because you knew that you did it, why couldn’t you control your emotions when somebody else did it?
For example, some people, when their toddlers are crying, they give them chocolate. They know that it is not good for them, but they give it to them just because they want some peace. If somebody else was doing it, the same people would erupt in an outburst of emotions.
In the management of emotional intelligence, the first skill you must master is emotional awareness.
‘Emotional awareness is the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem-solving. It is the ability to manage your emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.’
For example, let’s say somebody does something wrong and by looking at his face, you see that he is full of emotions. He is so sorry; however, you don’t read it. You say, ‘He didn’t even say sorry.’ Look at his face! You are so blind and cannot read emotions of others. So, you are not emotionally aware.
If somebody’s face is all swollen, their eyes are red, they look sombre, gloomy and distressed – and still, you can’t read it, it means you lack awareness of emotions.
When somebody does something wrong, sometimes I make jokes with them. I learnt it from His Divine Eminence Gohar Shahi. His Divine Eminence said, ‘When somebody does something wrong, give him more love so that he can correct himself.’
When you are happy, your body is so transparent, it cannot hide your emotions. Your face is so transparent it is like a revealing, see-through dress. The emotions are peeking out. When you are happy, your face is [bright]. When you are sad, your face will seem to have some swelling. When you are angry, your nostrils flare.
Emotions do not need a language. Emotions don’t need your permission. They will manifest before the world. They are self-expressive; they do not need extra help.
When there is an outburst of emotions, the emotions will manifest upon your face. The face will go to the backstage and emotions will come to the forefront.
When somebody does a favour to you and now it is your turn to be thankful to them, some people think by saying, ‘Thank you,’ they have done their job. You don’t see the emotions of gratefulness upon their faces. This is because they are emotionally dead. Some other people say, ‘Thank you,’ but with the emotions of hatred.
Appreciation is an exhibition of emotions, my friend. Appreciation doesn’t consist of words only.
In a similar way, when you are grateful to God, you say, ‘Thank God.’ When you are thankful to somebody, you need to express your emotions. That exhibition of emotions is the true form of appreciation. When somebody is doing a favour to you, it is natural to exhibit some emotions of gratefulness. Gratitude is not just two words, ‘thank you’.
In order to become a good human being, you must be emotionally intelligent.
Have you been in a situation where you see that some people are really disturbed and quiet, while others in the room are not bothered about their emotional state and are laughing and making jokes? I think this is a mark of a bad character.
When we see that somebody is upset, for any reason, we should respect his emotional attire, condition and the situation he may be in. We should give him space.
We should not make an environment where somebody feels, ‘Nobody is bothered. They are spiritually so dead, they cannot see my face. They cannot even see how sad I am and they’re just making jokes.’ This is also very important.
If we must [be jubilant, we should leave his presence first]. We can comfort him and say, ‘Everything will be okay, don’t worry.’ Words of comfort don’t mean anything, but it comes under mannerism.
Some people criticise you for the sake of criticism. Not a lot of people criticise you to reform you. Some people just try to boast themselves and put allegations on others. That is not true criticism.
If it is true criticism, you must reflect on your actions and deeds.
Then again, in the very first instance, you need to know whether the criticism is positive and coming from a fair-minded person, who doesn’t hold a grudge against you and who is not a habitual nagger. Some people just use everything as an instrumental to disrespect, insult you and find flaws with you. Even if there are no flaws in you, they must find a flaw with you. They become oblivious about their own being; they are totally oblivious to who they are and how good or bad they are.
You must know when you are criticised, whether or not that criticism is positive. On the other hand, do not make this as an excuse [not to listen to the criticism] at the same time. Sometimes, you say, ‘I don’t care because it is not a positive criticism; let them say what they want,’ because you need an exit without guilt. You have to be pretty sure whether or not that person is a genuine critic. If that person is a genuine critic, then you must hear him out.
It is like a blessing if you have a positive critic around you. Then, in that case, you don’t have to work hard on correcting yourself. They will criticise you positively, then you will take note of what they are saying about you and you can correct yourself. A positive critic is the best of your mates.
Most of the time, we think our parents are positive critics, but sometimes they are overprotective. They are just exaggerating it most of the time. Then they say, ‘Who can be more positive than I am? I am your mother/father. Nobody can love you more than I can.’
Handling Setbacks Effectively
How do we learn to stay calm? First of all, we need to understand what exactly does the phrase ‘under pressure’ mean? You go under pressure when you know exactly what your problem is and then you get frustrated.
Sometimes you get frustrated when you fail and you don’t achieve your goal. That is when you are justified to be frustrated. You are allowed to be frustrated; however, you must fulfil the requirement of frustration.
There are two types of frustration: original and false. Frustration is justified when you know there is a problem and you have been working on it; nothing seems to work and then you are helpless, clueless and you don’t know how to resolve the problem. You have applied all your skills and energies and still, there is no result. This feeling is true frustration. But sometimes, you don’t even try [to fix the problem] and you impose frustration on you. That is false frustration! A lot of people fall prey to false frustration.
Some other people who are not connected to God, who are not spiritual, what will they do? They will simply go to the church or temple and say, ‘God help me!’ God will never help them and this will only add to their frustration.
In our case, when we are helpless, we should not be frustrated. When we feel helpless, we always turn to His Divine Eminence Gohar Shahi. Some people don’t even try to solve the problem. They skip this stage and go straight to asking for His Divine Eminence Gohar Shahi’s help. That is wrong. Don’t do that. Try to fix the problem first with all the skills and energies you have.
His Divine Eminence Gohar Shahi’s help will definitely come when you are genuinely helpless.
Why should HDE Gohar Shahi help you when you are able to resolve the problem yourself?
But we have become habitual of doing this. If anything goes wrong, we immediately say, ‘HDE Gohar Shahi, help me; Jesus, help me.’ Jesus will not help you because you are not a genuine seeker. Your quest for help is not genuine.
Only pray to God for help when you cannot help yourself.
In fake frustration, you are never helped out and you lose trust in God. You don’t make an effort and you call upon God to help you. Obviously, God will not help you because your frustration is not genuine. As a result, you become depressed and lose trust in God. This is so dangerous. So make sure your frustration is original frustration.
God helps those who want to help themselves. That will happen when you have tried everything and now you are genuinely helpless; you are lost and do not know what to do. Then comes the Lord’s help. Maybe before you even say, ‘HDE Gohar Shahi, help me,’ HDE Gohar Shahi will help you.
There is no room for frustration in a spiritual person’s life because frustration is a condition where you are helpless and there is nobody to help you.
A disciple of HDE Gohar Shahi and those who are actually connected to Jesus can never be truly frustrated because they are not helpless. So we have to remove this word frustration from our life, practically. There is no room for you to have frustration in your life. You must abide by this. Frustration comes when you become completely helpless and HDE Gohar Shahi is our Lord, we are not unattended for.
This is the answer to handling setbacks effectively. Try your best. God doesn’t like it that there is a problem and you’re not making an effort to resolve it. God will never help you like that. Make as much effort as it is required. Even after everything you have done to resolve the problem, there is no result and you are clueless and feel helpless, then call upon HDE Gohar Shahi. I guarantee that you will be helped straight away. When the Lord’s help arrives, there is jubilance, not frustration.
Controlling Emotions and Problem-Solving
There are two skills involved in emotional awareness: the ability to identify your emotions and ability to identify others’ emotions.
When somebody is injured, you bring out a First Aid kit. In a similar way, if somebody is sad and under the outburst of emotions, you should try to comfort him and harness his emotions. Make sure that his emotions do not become overwhelmed. If your emotions become overwhelmed, you will push yourself into the depth of depression. If you are there and you see somebody is under some kind of emotional state, you should have the expertise of controlling and making use of those emotions in solving problems.
If somebody is sad and you also go there and you tell them stories which will increase in their sadness, then this is backfiring. You should comfort them in a way that it appears to be genuine to them. Tell them, ‘Don’t lose hope in God. God will help you. Bad days do not stay forever like good days do not stay forever.’ Give them a practical approach in order to solve their problems. Don’t give them false hope, but at the same time, give them calculated hope.
The same thing goes for yourself. When you are emotionally down, you don’t want to talk to people. This is bad because you are shutting the door on any help that might come to you.
Some people seek isolation when they are emotionally down. That is not going to solve the problem. If you have a problem, find a practical solution. You have to make efforts. When some others have a problem, they become hostile to everybody. You must manifest humility and modesty at all times. If you think that you’re the only one in the world who has a problem, you are severely mistaken. Every single person in this world is laden with trouble; but the thing is, everybody thinks his pain is greater than everybody else’s.
Do not seek isolation when you are emotionally down. When you seek isolation and you are emotionally down, the chances are that you are pushing yourself into a deep depression. If you are sad, seek a solution. Always leave a door open for someone to come and help you.
Keep your head cool so that you can solve the problem. Don’t become unreasonable. Tell yourself, ‘It is not the end of the world. I will find a solution.’ Sit down and find a practical solution.
If you cannot help yourself, nobody will care about your life. If you don’t want to help yourself, why would the world help you?
When you are helping yourself, then foreign aid will come. However, you should be the first one to help you.
How do you keep cool? If you have a problem, think about how to solve it. Calculate. After your calculations, you know what to do. When you know that something can be achieved, keep cool. You should be worried when you know it cannot be done. There is no problem that cannot be solved!